Sunday, March 25th, 2017 (11:30am – 1:00pm)
The Vault Theater, 350 E Main St, Hillsboro, OR
More human beings have been forced to flee their homes by conflict and crisis than at any time since the second World War. News stories across the globe refer to “refugee crises” constantly, and it has become almost commonplace to hear stories of families from Syria, Serbia, Yemen, and dozens of other nations fleeing for their lives seeking safety.
Refugees are individuals or groups of people in grave danger because their home government is either unwilling or unable to protect them, or may be actively persecuting them. They are from all over the world, from large urban areas to rural refugee camps. Since 1975, tens of thousands of refugees have resettled here in Oregon, and most of these refugees initially settle in the greater Portland metro area. Currently, the most common refugee groups arriving in Oregon are from, Cuba, Burma, Bhutan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Iraq, and Somalia.
Our guests for the March 25th Brave Space come to us from a diversity of backgrounds, but all have a common story: how and why they fled their homelands and arrived here in Oregon. A number of our speakers join us from IROC, a community-based nonprofit that provides wraparound services to immigrants and refugees. IROC has over 200 culturally and linguistically specific programs that served over 30,000 clients in 2016 alone. Their services address every life-stage, from early childhood development to senior services in order to help people achieve self-sufficiency and build new beginnings. Some of their programs include after-school programs at 18 different schools, food pantries across the city, domestic and sexual violence case management, adult English language classes, job coaching, and business development.
Mori and Behnaz Mirashrafi-
Behnaz Jafari Mirashrafi was born in Tehran, Iran in 1966. Behnaz’s father was in the military during the Shah’s time and help many posts all over Iran. Subsequent the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution Behnaz’s dad was imprisoned for about three years for being an officer in the Shah’s army, but was subsequently released due to lack of evidence for him being anti-revolutionary. Mori Mirashrafi was also born in Tehran, Iran in 1955. Mori came to Oregon in 1973 to attend Oregon State University and has remained in Oregon since. Even though he was not in Iran at the time of the revolution, he was engaged in the events in Iran and has since studied the political climate in Iran for the last 40 years. Mori and Behnaz met in Tehran in 1993 and got married in Portland in 1994. They both live in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Francis is a Zomi from Myanmar, having come to the US in 2015 as a refugee. His first job was as a job coach at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), and has moved on to other programs within IRCO since.
Sahar is an Iranian immigrant, having come to the US in 2011 to pursue her Master’s degree in International Human Rights. She is currently the Volunteer and Training Coordinator at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization.
Djimet Dogo is the Associate Director of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization and also Director of IRCO/Africa House. Mr. Dogo came to the U.S. in 1999 initially as a guest speaker for the US Department of State. He later was granted asylum to stay in the U.S because of his work in his home country of Chad as human rights activist.